Bennett promises new settlements out of Amona wreckage
As Amona residents confront hundreds of policemen in defiance of a court-ordered evacuation of the outpost, Bennett seeks to salvage support among his political base, hailing the evacuees as heroes; 'Out of the wreckage of Amona we will build children's playgrounds throughout Judea and Samaria.'
Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) delivered a statement to the Knesset plenum Wednesday morning, expressing his regret over the evacuation of Amona, hailing its residents as heroes and promising a series of measures to strengthen Israeli presence in the West Bank.
“Hope will grow out of this difficult day and we will build a new community after the demolition of Amona’s homes. Out of the wreckage of Amona we will build children's playgrounds throughout Judea and Samaria. As a result of the legal defat, we will impose new rules in Judea and Samaria and legalize all the communities,” Bennett promised.
“And because of the painful loss of our foothold on the mountain, we will seek to impose sovereignty of the State of Israel in the entire region of Judea and Samaria,” he stated at the same time as police forces began crossing the gates of Amona to implement a court-ordered evacuation.
Bennett, who found himself the target of intense criticism of the furious residents, whom his party represents, exclaimed his continued support and sympathy for the fate that has befallen them at the behest of the High Court of Justice (HCJ).
“For 20 years the residents of Amona have clung to the mountain, under difficult physical conditions, in stormy winters and hot summers, in the face of security risks and intifadas,” he lamented from the podium.
“But what is difficult is the uncertainty regarding their future. The residents of Amona live on the mountain, not for personal gain, but (out of a sense of a deeper mission) for the nation and the land.”
Bennett went on to reiterate the difficulty of the day’s events before going on the offensive against the HCJ. “The truth must be stated. We began the campaign while facing a final an unequivocal decision from the High Court. We went to Amona and looked the residents in the eye. We knew that we were embarking on a campaign against all the odds, but we did not give up,” he asserted, in an attempt to convince his political base of his efforts to prevent the ultimate outcome.
“Together, with the residents of Amona, we overturned all stones, we tried every option and exhausted every move to save Amona. Unfortunately, the struggle for Amona did not succeed. We lost the battle but we are winning the battle for the Land of Israel,” he added as he sought to inject a small dose of optimism in the assault on the ideology of his party and followers.
Turning to the evacuees, Bennett extolled what he described as the determination and steadfastness of the Amona residents, saying that it has “saved thousands of Jewish families from evacuation and saved the communities of thousands of families in our land."
Bennett then ended his speech by issuing an emotional plea: “I call on the pioneers of our generation from the communities Judea and Samaria: Raise your heads and continue to settle the land,” he said while imploring the Amona residents to refrain from violent actions against the Israeli security forces.
“We have no other soldiers. We have no other soldiers. We have no other army. Under no circumstances can anyone raise his hand. Amona residents, the nation of Israel is with you. We are all brothers.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman visited the settlement of Ariel where he commented on the evacuation and the resistance. “My heart is with the settlers. We all fell compassion and understanding for their quiet protest, which is natural. In a democratic state a fundamental right of the residents is to protest and I hope that it will remain within the law,” Lieberman said.